Being Kind and Encouraging? Sweet. Bittersweet.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, October 30, 2014

autumn road

Being Kind and Encouraging? Sweet. Bittersweet.

I wear several hats most days. A very important hat I wear is that of Mom. I’ve been a Mom for quite some time. My older two daughters have been out of the house for some years. I have a third daughter who is away at college. And then there is my son—a senior in high school. So, yes. I have been a Mom for a long time. Secondly, there is Wife. I try to be a good companion, friend and helpmate to my husband. That’s another hat. The third hat concerns my work—it’s called Pastor. I earnestly try to serve the congregation as well as I can. Praying for them, teaching bible studies, preparing services and sermons, and especially through pastoral care. That’s a third hat, an important hat I wear. Most days.

Except, today. My husband had a dental appointment this morning, and didn’t go to work. Yes, I did go in to work for a few hours, but I took the opportunity to come home a little early this afternoon. And, my son was here at home. All three of us, here in the living room. Talking earnestly, engaging in serious conversation. Earlier, my son made another brief video and put it up on Facebook. He proudly showed it off to his father and to me, and we all discussed it. Then, branched off into related topics.

Our lively, three-way conversation didn’t last too long, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Afterwards, upon reflection, I thought about my youngest son. I did my very best to be encouraging and tried to show my interest in what he was doing. He was so animated and excited about his latest video. Moreover, he and his father always get involved in such interesting conversations. As I looked at them talking together, I couldn’t help but think that soon my son is going to graduate from high school. Soon, he’ll be out of the house, too. Soon, my third daughter is going to graduate from college. And then—get launched into her own activities.

Gracious, if I am not careful, I’m going to get weepy. Maudlin. Even, down in the dumps. Depressed. It’s a good thing I wear several different hats. I’ll just need to get used to hanging up the Mom hat most of the time. But that doesn’t mean I need to stop being an encouragement and being kind to my children. God, please go with them, wherever they go.

Yes, I am so glad my children are grown, or are growing up. Yes, I am so proud of them, that they are so accomplished in so many different ways. And, yes, I will miss having children around the house. Sweet. And bittersweet.

@chaplaineliza

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Kindness? Visiting a Senior!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BK kindness blind can see, deaf can hear

Kindness? Visiting a Senior!

Today was a beautiful day. Lovely and temperate for the first day of October. Lovely day for a drive, too.

I planned to visit a dear senior this afternoon. I drove to the retirement home where this senior lives, and I spent some time visiting. I don’t quite know—even now—who was the recipient of kindness today—the senior, or me. Or, perhaps, the kindness was reciprocal. Both of us were blessed with kindness today, I suspect. And, that’s not all.

This senior is quite frail, but fully aware. And, sweet, amusing and earnest. I so enjoyed talking with this dear one. (As my mother-in-law might have said with a smile, we had “a real good visit.”) This senior was so involved, all throughout the many decades, with church leadership. So this afternoon, the senior wanted to know all kinds of things about my work and ministry. I was happy to oblige, in brief. I didn’t wish to bore or overtire, certainly. And I was also aware of my words and descriptions. Primarily, I wanted to share uplifting incidents and anecdotes. I think I succeeded, too.

I spent a while in the room, along with this dear one. And at last, I regretfully said I needed to go. I was parked on a busy street where there were some parking restrictions. But before I left, I asked whether it would be a good idea if I prayed, or if we would both pray. Of course, said my senior friend! I ought to pray. So I did. I read several verses from Isaiah 43 first, and then folded them into the prayer. The dear person seemed really, really happy, afterwards.   Plus—really pleased with the prayer.

How wonderful to feel God moving in my heart. And, I hope in the heart of this dear senior. I said I hoped to some next week, too. God willing, I’ll be able to.

@chaplaineliza

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Of Breakfast and Being Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, January 15, 2014

water sunrise

water sunrise

Of Breakfast and Being Kind

I went to a business breakfast this morning. Genial, good conversation. I enjoyed myself a great deal, although I needed to leave a little early. There were ten of us there. Eight men, me, and one other woman. I knew several of the others. The rest were strangers I was glad to meet.

I had known the woman, an acquaintance of mine, for some years. We hadn’t had a chance to reconnect for some time. It was good to sit next to her at the breakfast. We talked about ourselves, our families, and generally caught up with one another. She confided in me, “It’s good to have another woman here to talk to.” It’s not that either of us is at all averse to being with a room full of men. Certainly not! I really enjoy being with the guys. My friend said she often did, too. But this particular morning, she was happy to hang out with and eat breakfast with a fellow woman.

Afterwards, this comment led me to think further. I didn’t purposely decide to be kind to my friend. It just sort of happened. I was the way I usually am, in interaction with people. I am an intuitive, feeling-sort of person. I am aware of (and sometimes absorb) the emotion and attitude of the people I’m around.  I found myself behaving in an open, friendly way at the relaxed breakfast. I engage with others much more easily in this kind of situation!

I was able to share a little about what I do as a chaplain, and as a caregiver. I come alongside of people. Often in traumatic, highly emotional times. I try to contain strong emotion, and be with people in their time of need. But sometimes I can be there for people in more low-key, genial times. Like this morning, having breakfast with my friend.

Thinking about the beginning of Ephesians 4:32 (our verse for the month!), “Be kind, tender-hearted.” This verse encourages all of us to be kind—that is, sweet, amiable, gentle in disposition. Certainly not hasty, short-tempered, or abrasive. Second, we’re also told to be tender-hearted. That means especially compassionate, even if this is not the default way of being for some people. I can be particularly challenged to be this sort of person at all times, to act this way with everyone I meet. (Even though my personal default way of being does tend towards this kind of behavior.)

When I purposed to do 365 days of service, and to write a corresponding blog for each day (thus, A Year of Being Kind), I tried to have as few expectations as possible. I suppose that was so I could wander my way through each day, encountering people and practicing kindness whenever and wherever God wanted. I am only two weeks into the year. Already, I am amazed at how God has chosen to bring kind, helpful things and acts of service my way, each day. God, I wonder what You are going to bring me for tomorrow? I can hardly wait!

@chaplaineliza